September 4, 2018 By Sophia Yong

Starting Your Startup – Making The Transition

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Note from Vicki, our resident Firestarter at Brew:

This month, we have our accounting expert, Sophia Yong, guest blogging for us!

Sophia Yong is the founder of National Accounting™. Her firm provides Corporate Secretarial, outsourced Accounting and Tax services to the SME community since 2004. Together with her team of IT-savvy qualified accountants, she brings a wealth of experience in setting up and running of businesses with a holistic approach to add value to her clients.

You might be currently happily or unhappily employed, getting a decent pay, or having some money you want to invest. Perhaps you're a student or about to graduate and wanting to be your own boss, or at the tail end of your corporate career.

You may be facing a lay-off or experiencing golden handshake rumours looming in the air. Or you've just attended an evening of product and business presentations and you've been inspired by a great idea – the drive is on to make financial independence a pursuit; a reality.

Be it crypto, block chain, age-reversing or health enhancing wonderments…The bottom line is this: you are not short of choices.

At some point in everyone’s lifetime, especially in Singapore (I will give you my theory on why this is so in my next blogpost), you'll want to start something on your own. I applaud this moment of awakening for my fellow Singaporeans!

Welcome to this life-changing moment, the start of an exciting journey to...

Well, here’s where the pause is. Journey to what exactly?

In my time and experience in helping clients plan and incorporate businesses, to make the transition from one state to another and namely becoming your own boss, my first
few questions are:

  • What you are starting?
  • Why do you want to start a business?
  • What do you want to get out of it?
  • What amount do you wish to make, and by when?
  • What is your timeline before cash runs out to sustain the business?

At this point, there is usually an awkward pause.

By the 5th question, whe weaker-hearted would have droopy heads and may decide to change the topic with a let-me-come-back to you look.

If they get thru this stage of our interrogative discussion, I would prod further:

  • Who are your partners or investors?
  • What are your skills and experiences to support and compliment each other?
  • Have you got your business plan done up?

Failing to plan is planning to fail

People get intimidated or put off by a plan.

Listen up, people!

The plan isn’t a fancy piece of paper to impress me or others. It is the road map to your business, a crucial piece where you do  your internal due diligence. The thought process will reveal the expectations for discussion, almost like a step in marriage preparation.

There are plenty of business plan templates out there with pointer to guide you through the planning stage. This is the stage where you link the understanding of the external market demographics with your internal strategy and personality dynamics. If you do this well, you are listening to the thoughts and ideas of your team and this minimises misunderstandings.

It's your baby with a life of its own

Starting a company is likened to giving birth to a baby. Along with it comes the responsibility as the director (like a parent) and there is compliance and regulatory requirement. It is not a one night stand or get rich quick journey!

Of course, you may choose to abort plans, terminate the business or make an exit. Here is where you would want to explore the worst case scenario on ways and how to fairly exit or proceed in the event of changes in the expectations of partners. Simple investor or shareholder agreements would be helpful in more complex structures and protects the interests of parties involved as well as any money injected into the business.

Remember that once a company is incorporated, it is a separate and legal entity with a life of its own. There is a cost to keep it “alive”.  There is the Director’s obligation and responsibilities governed by the Company’s Act to act on the interest of the entity. For the very basic, you have to keep proper records and perform mandated submissions to ACRA and IRAS.

The good news is: you do not need to fuss over these while you run your business. Help is at hand these days with information accessible on the internet and professional service providers you may outsource to at a fraction of hiring a full time staff’s salary.

Enjoy the journey on this exciting embarkation. And like having a child, its choosing a name for the company.  Name reservation takes place and you have 30 days to decide if you still want to 'deliver' (incorporate). My clients usually take the leap with no waiting.

More input and conversation continues into the launch of a business. The crawling, walking, running and, possibly, flying begins. Stay tuned for the rest of this blog series!

If you are in the process of starting a company, or have doubts about business compliance, feel free to reach out to me via email!

“I Don’t Want To Make Business Life Easier.”
(Said No One Ever.)
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